Consider the lily…

Oriental-Trumpet hybrid lily ‘Scheherezade’

Adrian Higgins in the Washington Post today laments that the lily, once the symbol and triumph of the summer garden seems to have been passed by.  Somehow he never once mentions that the lily is a favorite deer snack and that could have something to do with its decline.  In the northeast they have a plague of lily beetles that have disastrous consequences for lilies.  And viruses can wipe out whole plantings.  But here in Frederick, behind our deer fence, the lilies have been prospering this summer.

All the positives that Higgins mentions are observable in our garden.  The lilies are long-lasting plantings, increasing every year, with stunning flowers and fragrances that stop you in your tracks when you are walking through the garden.  The Asiatics start the parade in May and the various actors are still marching by in July as the Orientals bring the show to a climax.  Right now Scheherezade, one of the Oriental/Trumpet hybrids, is climbing all over the garden gate in an embrace with the Joe Pye Weed (ignoring class distinctions).

Scherezhade climbing the garden gate

Nearby the Russian emigre, Anastasia, ignoring all sense of decorum, has climbed into the flowering cherry tree where it flaunts its charms for all to see.

Anastasia lilies in abundance

These were easily 9 feet tall.  Of course a flower like this deserves a closer look so that you can begin to anticipate the fragrance.

Oriental-Trumpet hybrid lily ‘Anastasia’

For a long time my favorite oriental lily has been ‘Casablanca’.

Lilium oriental ‘Casablanca’

It has been deservedly praised and over planted.  And yet I like it still.  It’s white purity is still arresting for the short time the pollen stays off of the white petals.

Casablanca Lily detail

Other favorites that are blooming right now are pictured below.

Oriental lily ‘Stargazer’

Oriental Lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental Lily ‘Marco Polo’

The last is a lovely lily planted in an utterly inappropriate shady location.  It grows up on long stems that inevitably flop so we have to cut the flowers and bring them inside — not the worst thing that could happen…

Then there are also the lily-like things that are flowering now as well.  We planted Canna Lilies for the first time in years and we’re enjoying the unusual color of ‘Creamsicle’, a bit different than the normal Cannas.

Canna lily ‘Creamsicle’

I noticed this morning that the first Toad lily of the year is in bloom.

Tricyrtis formosana (Toad lily) ‘Autumn glow’

This is a lovely plant with golden marginated leaves that I brought back from one of my visits to Plant Delights.

And then lastly let me share the back side of the Gloriosa lily.  It has a wonderful progression of the first opening of the flower to a final spreading of it’s petals which are lovely from both sides.

Gloriosa lily top down view


4 comments on “Consider the lily…

  1. Les

    I can just about smell the lilies through the tubes of the internets. Isn’t early for toad lily?

    1. jw

      Looking back through my records I don’t usually expect to see toad lilies in bloom until September at the earliest so, yes, this seems very early to me. However, it does seem to be only this one variety so the world is not totally topsy-turvy.

  2. Jay Chatterjee

    I am glad you wrote that lilies are perfect deer snacks. I have my lily plant in a pot on our deck. I have one perfect flower left and gaze at it every morning while I drink my tea. I had 4 blossoms but the other 3 have died. I hope this one lasts for at least another week!

  3. Patrick

    Glad to have uncovered your blog via Rhone Street. Beautiful lilies and images. They pop out at the screen at you. We have a large cross out front and this fall I intend to plant some tall white lilies. Best